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“Common Ground” Poll Finds Pennsylvanians Have Concerns on Direction of State, Country

The Commonwealth Foundation released its quarterly ‘Common Ground in the Commonwealth’ survey of 800 registered voters in the Keystone State on Tuesday and found that Pennsylvania voter sentiment has not changed much over the last three months.

According to the Foundation’s website, the poll “measures Pennsylvania’s pulse on the most important issues facing the commonwealth, including education, regulation, migration, energy, business climate, taxes, quality of life, confidence in elections, and more. The Common Ground poll also takes stock of approvals for elected officials and issue trends.”

Just 1-in-3 respondents (35%) indicated that Pennsylvania is going in the right direction, while fewer than 1-in-4 (23%) say that the country is headed the same way. There was no change in the PA number since April, while the figure for America dropped three points.

Inflation and the cost of living, as well as immigration/border security remain the top two issues facing the country today, according to those surveyed. Among those 800, more than 45% (364) indicated the cost of living as one of their top three issues, while immigration (27%, 212) followed. Choice No. 3 was divided among crime (142), health care (142) and abortion (133).

Those selections were mirrored when respondents were asked about the three most important problems facing Pennsylvania.

 

Presidential Race

In the Foundation’s Q1 survey, more than half of respondents indicated that they would vote for a Democrat if the presidential election were held today, compared to 44% for the GOP candidate. That difference has dwindled to 48-47%.

A similar question asking who those surveyed would vote for president if the election were held today saw President Joe Biden with a one percentage-point edge over Donald Trump, 45-44%. The current president had a three-point advantage (44-41%) over the former president in the Q1 poll.

In line with the previous question, 47 percent said they would refuse to vote for Trump to 46 percent for Biden.

Not surprisingly, 3-in-5 (60%) responded that they were dissatisfied with the choice of candidates in the 2024 presidential race.

Favorability

Biden’s approval number dropped a pair of percentage points from 45 to 43%, while his favorability rating slid three points to 43 percent. Along the same lines, Vice President Kamala Harris saw her favorability rating slip from 43 to 39%.

As a contrast to those numbers, both Keystone State senators saw their numbers improve. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who is running for reelection against Republican Dave McCormick, saw his favorability numbers rise three points to 50%, while junior Sen. John Fetterman got a slim 1-point boost to 48%.

The United States Supreme Court saw its rating drop one point to 39% in a survey that was conducted before the high court released the majority of its decisions for the term.

U.S. Senator

While Casey still holds a significant 12-point lead over McCormick in the Q2 poll (48-36%), the Republican challenger has made some headway from a 47-30% deficit last quarter.

Keystone State

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro continues to produce strong performance numbers as 58 percent of those surveyed approve of the way he has handled his job, while nearly 60 percent of those surveyed (59%) have a favorable opinion of him.

Fewer than half (46%), though, feel that Shapiro has delivered major accomplishments during his first year-and-a-half

Both chambers of the General Assembly are still perceived favorably with the House coming in at 47 percent and the Senate at 45%. The state Supreme Court remains steady at 48%.

One thing that Pennsylvanians can agree upon is their feelings toward their regional convenience stores. Sheetz, which dominates the central and western portions of the Commonwealth, is viewed favorably by almost 75% on respondents (74%), while Wawa, the dominant player in the eastern part of the state, is viewed favorably by 72% of those surveyed.

Statewide Office

The Q2 poll was the first opportunity to poll Pennsylvanians about their choices for the Attorney General, Auditor General, and State Treasurer positions on the November ballot.

Democrat Eugene DePasquale, the former state Auditor General, has a four-point advantage over Dave Sunday, the York County District Attorney, by a 43-39% count with 13 percent indicating “none of the above.”

Democratic state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (43%) and Republican incumbent Timothy DeFoor (41%) are neck-and-neck in the first poll for Auditor General and within the margin of error. Again, 11 percent of those surveyed said “none of the above.”

Erin McClelland, who surprised pundits throughout the Commonwealth with her victory in the Democratic primary for State Treasurer, drew 44 percent support from respondents, while GOP incumbent Stacy Garrity came in at 41% with 1-in-10 saying “none of the above.”

Education in the Commonwealth

The Commonwealth Foundation is a prominent supporter of school choice in Pennsylvania and has surveyed state registered voters on certain issues regarding education.

Just one-in-four respondents said that if financial concerns were of no concern that they would send their child to a district school for their education. Twenty-eight percent selected a non-religious private school would be their first choice, while 17% chose religious private school. Charter schools came in fourth at 8%, while cyber school or remote learning was a distant sixth at four percent.

Nearly three-in-four (72%) supported the notion of “giving every child in Pennsylvania the ability to attend the school that best meet their needs, while three-quarters would support “establishing scholarships for low-income students in Pennsylvania’s worst performing (bottom 15%) schools that would help pay for tuition to another K-12 school.”

Seventy-seven percent would endorse establishing an independent authorizer for charter schools, rather than the current system in which only school districts can approve charter schools. Approximately the same number (78%) support expanding access to charter schools so that all Pennsylvania children would be allowed to attend a charter school. Those surveyed also gave grades to the quality of the Commonwealth’s K-12 school system – A (4%), B (30%), C (38%), D (13%) and F (4%).

State Issues

In an example of why the framing of questions matter, just 34 percent of respondents indicated support for Shapiro’s $48.3B budget when told that there would be a 7.1% spending increase, while increasing the structural deficit more than $6 billion and necessitating a tax hike of more than $2,000 per family of four.

Another example of framing surrounded the question of using $300 million in state sales tax dollars to “bail out mass transit systems in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.” When posed that question, more than half (52%) opposed the concept.

 

The poll was conduced from June 14-19 and has a margin of error of +/-3.46%.

 

One Response

  1. So then why are they voting for the current administrations? They will continue pursue the same policy goals and – if you think its wrong now – how does more of the same he;p you?

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